I have a training budget and part of that budget includes money for books. Most of the books I buy are about marketing, and I am a major Seth Godin fan. I have several of his books, including his latest, Meatball Sundae. Meatball Sundae is about all the ways that marketing has changed, Godin says it has changed in 14 ways. Mass media is no longer the only channel for marketing, the internet give us infinite channels. According to Godin “business growth comes from…satisfying the people who can best leverage your idea,” the book focuses on how the internet has changed everything when it comes to marketing. The meatball sundae has to do with what is being marketed. I think that is where the book is most applicable to our industry.
The meatball represents the products that we sell. The same old products. In our industry we can call our services the meatball. The same services we have been marketing to consumers forever. The sundae is how we market our services. We take the meatball and put some new topping on it to make it look pretty and then go out and try to sell that same old meatball. Not very appealing, or desirable in the market place, and not what consumers are asking for.The internet has changed our industry. I don’t believe that people will be buying houses on the internet any time soon. My husband works for a car dealership that is all set up so that consumers can buy a car through the internet. They have had that service for their customers for many years. People use the web sites for research but still come into the store to look at the car and test drive it before buying. The internet will not eliminate our jobs but it is changing them, yet we continue with the same old business models and commission structures and even fight to keep them in place. We keep our meatball looking the same and put new toppings on it as we market it.
The internet, and the unlimited number of marketing channels gives our industry the opportunity to create new business models and provide new services to our clients. Often I see agents using web technology to market in the same old way. Where they used to send snail mail post cards with their faces on them they now “drip” email with their face on it. We are not only selling the same old meatball but we are taking advantage of new advertising channels and methods but at the same time using them the same way that we used the old mass media channels.
I read the entire book on two airplanes. With my short attention span a book has to be pretty gripping to hold my attention that long. I enjoy Godin’s writing style and his books can be read very quickly but it is better to read them a chapter at a time and absorb the ideas before continuing to the next chapter.
My favorite Seth Godin book is ” Small is the New Big.: I read it just as my blog was starting to take off and I think it had an influence on my writing style and my ideas for posts. Last winter I read “The Dip”, and I did not like it at all. it is about knowing when to quit. While I agree that sometimes quitting is best I did not find any useful advice in the book about how to quit or when to quit.
Real estate practitioners and the industry it self can learn from reading books and taking training that is not just for the real estate industry. When I look at my job I see myself as a marketer. I spend more time and money marketing that I do on any single activity. Most of my training in the area comes from books and even classes that are written or provided through other industries. The ideas from the outside world enable us to think outside the box and even to look at ways to stop marketing that same old meat ball and start thinking about new products and opportunities.